I’m really not ashamed to admit I’m a crazy cat lady. What’s more shocking is I have actually become a dog person as I’ve become older. When I was young I was never a fan of dogs. I always thought they were smelly idiots. (And my dog is both of those things) I’ll always love my felines more than that ridiculous dog. Especially as my felines are way sweeter and just not an asshole like my dog. Yes, this dog, who broke the screen on my super expensive Google Pixel phone today in her dog-crazed mania. My boyfriend and I have spent almost twelve hours of our lives constructing the perfect outdoor wonderland catio for our feline friends and now on top of that, I have to download all my apps again. Plus remember all my passwords!
When I’m not searching my brain for my Spotify password and what the hell email address I use to log into my WordPress account, I like to do nice things for my cats. I like buy them expensive cat toys and those good salmon treats from Costco. The dog, on the other hand, well she can drink dirty lake water. (Have you noticed the dog is on the shit list today?) This week we decided to build the ultimate catio for our kitty cats as we spend so much time in our backyard. We love being outdoors, especially in the summer months but we miss being around our felines for most of our days.
May through September especially, we spend a lot of our days outdoors in our backyard. Our two fluffy fat Norwegian Forest Cats and slinky grey Russian Blue boy want desperately to enjoy the Vitamin D with us but being an outdoor cat is just not in their future. Growing up I always had outdoor cats. My family is huge into letting cats be cats, catch mice and live their best outdoor lives. I know domestic cats came from outdoors and I wish I could let my cats scamper beneath the pine trees but I just love them too much to risk losing them. In our mountain neighborhood, we have so many coyotes at all hours of the day. Not only that but with so many STR’s (short-term rentals in our neighborhood, people drive so fast on our street. I couldn’t stand the thought of our beloved cats being hit by a car.
An Al Fresco Kitten Caboodle
This summer we decided to invest in an outdoor cat condo for our kitty cats. I figured this outdoor handyman-ish project would be easy as I’m basically a lumberjack. What with the wood stacking and the beer drinking and the occasional burping. So of course I can build a cat condo! Bring it on! So before you decide to build your own outdoor cat condo or catio what should you know? Number one here in Joe Biden’s America, this is not the best time to buy a cat condo. Lumber is at an all-time high. Just buying one-gallon of cedar varnish for this project cost us over sixty bucks. This is not a cheap project. Realize that before you decide to build your cats a Kitty Cat Mar-A-Lago.
Saying that we jumped right in and decided to buy and build a kitty cat compound anyways. (Seriously three years ago this same catio on Amazon probably would have been two hundred dollars cheaper. The lumber and supplies are just exorbitantly priced right now. But we love our pets. Here in the United States in the year 2020, Americans spent 103.6 million on their pets because we love those furry jerks. That is why when my boyfriend said let’s build a catio, I was all over the idea. And then we worked on the project for basically twelve straight hours. If you decide to build your own catio, starting it on the hottest and humid summer day ever and working from 10 a.m. to happy hour is probably not the ideal way to get the project done.
Building the Mar-A-Lago of Kitty-Cat Condos
Here where we live in the mountains of southern California, we are known to have snowy winters. When you build an outdoor catio in a sometimes snowy wonderland you need to take some precautions to treat your wood ahead of time. We decide to stain our cat condo with cedar stain to protect the wood against our intense mountain winters. Because I watch so much FoxNews I also knew that I should purchase some Flex Seal too “Because it works” As FoxNews tells me. When you build your cat condo for your fluffy friends it’s always a good idea to put in any screws and staples right after staining the wood when the wood is not very dry. Dry wood has a much higher chance of cracking.
We built a tunnel leading the cats from their cat box area straight into the cat condo. We added a well-designed doggie door with magnetic closure so raccoons can not break in, in the middle of the night. When building a catio of your own definitely think of any pests and other varmints you have where you live that might want to break into your cat’s sanctuary.
“I will build a great catio”
There are so many cat condos available on Amazon but which is the right catio for your kitty cat? These catios are expensive, let me tell you. Purchasing the perfect one for your family of felines requires some research and reading a lot of Amazon reviews. We purchased the GTQuailty Catio from Amazon. Quality is debatable. It’s nice looking and wasn’t too hard to put together but there were many drawbacks. We liked this one because it was made from fir, a lighter wood and is easier to move around when we have to make repairs. (Like when our fat Norwegian forest cat breaks something less than twenty-four hours after completing his future outdoor home) The title and description explain “Long runway with jumping platforms” but does not mention if your Norwegian Forest Cat is a fluffy fat fucker he might break the platforms using the jumping platforms as a trampoline.
It was stressful putting these wood pieces together as the precut wood pieces are such thin wood. As we were building this catio we were putting all the screws in the predrilled holes and just praying the wood did not crack. This is when staining the wood ahead of time comes in handy. And when Flex Seal can come to your rescue.
We ran into one tiny problem when it came to constructing a cat condo of our own. Our bouncing baby boy Leo is a twenty-pound Norwegian Forest Cat. Yes, that is twenty pounds of fluff, fat and naughtiness. It took less than twenty-four hours after we finished constructing our cat condo we purchased on Amazon for Hurricane Leo to show up. He was quite happily attacking and bouncing up and down on the carpet we had added to the ramp that takes the cat to the second story of the condo when the ramp gave way with a giant crash. Cat insanity took place as all three cats were inside the condo at the time of the great destruction as Leo and all that newly stained plywood came crashing down.
My older Norwegian forest cat is already the biggest scaredy cat in the world and she found the whole situation terrifying. If you also like me have giant fat cats, you might want to be very careful about the structural soundness of any catio you pick out. Adding in extra two-by-fours for more durability was crucial to making this catio safe for our pets.
Here in 2022 so many of us are some ding a lot more time at home with our pets. It’s awesome to see how many pets were adopted from shelters during this pandemic. If you are in the market for a cat condo or catio of your own I hope these tales of building our cat condo help your future purchases